| ||NOTES || |
| ||Louis Oosthuizen will defend his title this week at the British Open.
Oosthuizen cruised to a seven-shot win last year to collect his first major
championship title. It was just the second time in nine majors that
Oosthuizen had made the cut. The South African handled St. Andrews with four
sub-par rounds en route to his big win. Oosthuizen finished at 16-under, well
ahead of Lee Westwood, who closed with three straight rounds in the 70s.
Oosthuizen won the Africa Open back in January and tied for ninth at the U.S.
Open, but has just one other top-10 finish this season. He has missed the cut
in four of his last seven starts worldwide. With three-time British Open
champion Tiger Woods and three-time major champion Vijay Singh not in the
field this week, the championship is more wide open than ever. World No. 1
Luke Donald is one of six players on the PGA and European Tours with more
than one title this season. Donald`s win at the rain-shortened Scottish Open
was his third of the year on the European Tour, the most by any player on
either tour. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is a two-time winner on the
European circuit. Nick Watney, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson and Mark Wilson
all have two wins on the PGA Tour. Stricker birdied the final two holes on
Sunday to win the John Deere Classic for the third straight year. With no
clear cut favorite, one has to wonder if there will be another first-time
major winner this week. Eight of the last nine major champions were
first-timers. That includes Rory McIlroy, who won the U.S. Open in record
fashion. That victory was the 22-year-old`ss second on both the PGA and
European Tours. Coming off that big win, he is the betting favorite this
week. ESPN has 11 hours of coverage on Thursday and Friday before airing 7
1/2 hours of action on Saturday and Sunday. The European Tour heads to Sweden
next week for the Nordea Masters, where Richard S. Johnson picked up a
one-stroke win last year.